France “over optimistic” about new property form compliance

The deadline to complete a new property declaration for all home owners in France, including holiday homes and investment properties, has been extended, with the government acknowledging that the process has not been well followed.

France’s Director General of Public Finances Jérôme Fournel appeared recently on BFMTV to admit that his government was “probably over optimistic on the level of awareness” of the obligation to declare real estate.

With “queues of unusual magnitude” and an “explosion” in physical contacts and telephone calls felt by the country’s tax offices, Fournel described a “nightmare” for tax staff who had to deal with anxious and sometimes aggressive taxpayers as the deadline approached, initially set for 30th June. It has now been postponed by a month.

He suggested that many had left it to the last minute to make the declaration, despite a widespread communication campaign initiated at the start of the year that included media and email warnings to property owners.

Some owners say they were only made aware of the obligation in reminder emails sent in mid-June, prompting nationwide panic.

Fournel said that he is confident that by the end of July, the tax authorities will have caught up with the wave, saying that “more than 63% of declarations have already been made”.

New obligation for property owners, regardless of residence status

The French government introduced the mandatory declaration of real estate in France after it abolished housing tax (taxe d’habitation) for main residences, but not for secondary residences. Apparently, “the Directorate General of Public Finance did not have the ability to distinguish what was a main residence and a secondary residence”, as it was put by Fournel.

Those who have not completed the property form now have until 31st July to do so.

It can be completed online on the tax website.

The new property tax form applies to all French homeowners, including second-home owners, landlords, and property investors. Homeowners need to fill out the Declaration d’Occupation form found on the website and declare who is living in the property on 1st January 2023. Separate forms must be filld out for each property owned.


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Photo credit: Lottie Griffiths, Unsplash